{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
scrimshaw would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Inductio

By scrimshaw

Romance / Drama

Chapter 1

Ten years earlier, before the lust and caprice of goddesses drowned the world in bloodshed, Kallikrates visited Troy as a humble sailor newly taken to the Greek seas. At that time his ship had been welcomed. His captain was a man of much status with the Trojan merchants and had a good deal of business to attend. Their time at port was long enough to enjoy a city at once familiar and yet touched with the exotic, straddling the line between godly civilization and eastern barbarism.

Most of the men exhausted their pay on cheap thrills, but not he. Kallikrates did not mean to remain a common galley man. The dearly bought lessons of his tutor had taught him to read, write, and know the constellations, and his heart was set on earning his own ship one day. So he saved his coin and sought the market leaders, gleaning their wisdom as he passed through one level of introduction after another.

His steps first crossed the path of the lady Charis at a lunar festival. Her father was a minor priest, known both for his corpulence and his debts. None spoke against him as such (a fallen priest might still hold some sway with the gods and was not to be crossed), yet none spoke well of him either. Beyond this censure, the man had only managed to spawn three daughters. The eldest was unmarried though beautiful, claiming the rights of an oracle despite her lack of prophecy. The youngest was joined with a prosperous family in the countryside who dealt in rugs; the less charitable claimed she'd been sold to cover a loan rather than freely offered in matrimony.

But it was the second born Charis who held any standing with the community, and who served as the sole representative of her family at the city's festivals. She was tall and stately, obviously a lady, and yet charitable to any who approached. As the festivities waxed into the night, Kallikrates noted her lonely position by the matrons even as older girls danced about bonfires with some of his fellow sailors.

He'd approached and asked for a blessing.

She blinked in surprise. "You confuse me for my father," she demurred. "I have no standing before the gods."

"Do not speak so harshly of their handiwork," he answered with a wit he had not known existed till then. "Do you not know that the lady Artemis is fond of maidens? I am but a foreign Athenian, and yet I can recognize where she may have granted favor."

His words prompted a shy grin. They might have spoke further had one of the older ladies not chosen that moment to need a companion for the privy.

After that night he made it his business to seek her out, no easy feat for a man with little standing in a land not his own. But difficulty only whetted his ambition, and eventually he gained an invitation to a dinner she attended. Chaperoned only by a servant, Charis was more open to conversation, and what a mind she proved to have. One evening could not contain their discoveries, and he found himself meeting her in the forum as she ran errands, walking with her on the way to the temple, and attending every minor festivity she might grace.

It was a madness born of Aphrodite and yet blessed with Athena's logic, for Charis embodied the best of both gods. He had always planned to cast his lot with Poseidon, and yet Kallikrates found himself considering a permanent residence in Troy. His connections were grown, there were places to be had, and most importantly, a lady whose importance he now valued as near equal to his own. The day he actually asked the Trojan harbor master about emigration was the one he realized her life now eclipsed his own in value, and nothing less than marriage would satisfy.

He laid his heart bear to her that very evening, in the temple courtyard, and no Olympian nectar could rival the joy he drunk at hearing his own desires affirmed and mirrored. In a fit of wild extravagance, he made an offering to the gods to bless their union then and there, making plans to seek out her father the next day.

The worried smile she tossed back in her departure was the last favor she was to give him.

Soldiers stopped him as he approached her home the next day. At first he thought there might be some new business of finance to interrupt his plans, but then Charis's matron friend came to meet him from the house. "I am aware of your business, Athenian, and you are not welcome here."

He protested, begging for an audience, ready to promise anything. The old woman shook her head gravely. "It is no use," she stopped him, extending a scroll. "Charis asked me to give you this."

The letter was brief and polite, a reminder that she was dedicated to serving the people of Troy, with an injunction that he not give up his career with no hope of any reciprocal benefit. She wished him well.

He could not have replied even had he been inclined, for the lady retreated back into the house and the soldiers closed ranks behind her. He burned the letter at the steps of the temple, daring the gods to punish him more than they already had. He fled to his ship and refused to leave it, wanting nothing more than a return to the lonely waves.

In the ensuing years he churned like the billows themselves, gaining not just a ship but a reputation, enough to catch the eye of King Agamemnon himself. When the treacherous affair of the king's sister-in-law Helene and the Prince Paris erupted, Kallikrates merely shrugged. What else could be expected of a Trojan? He gladly surrendered himself to a war that had brewed in his bosom for years.

It was a horrid time, but a good one for a man not afraid to make his mark, and Kallikrates earned both fortune and fame. He refused to take part in the horse business, wanting to meet his enemy head-on rather than play at such trickery. Instead he led the fleet in to reinforce the saboteurs. By the time he and his men advanced on the city it was mortally wounded, hemorrhaging corpses, its wealth and former glory unable to staunch the madness of revenge. Too much blood had been spilt in this war to stop at anything less than a massacre.

He hadn't thought of her as anything but a distant, painful abstraction for so long that he never thought to seek her body among the dead. But days later, at a function between the King and the few surviving city leaders, he was shocked to see her face. It was older, more harried, but still with a look of quiet authority that sent him seeking answers. Her sister's people, the rug dealers, had sheltered the family at their country estate when the Greeks advanced.

Kallikrates bore the blood of her kin and countrymen, and stood to gain much from the destruction of her home. A crueler man, one as heartless as he'd believed himself to be, would have reveled in the chance to take his own back from a lady who'd robbed him of that organ to begin with.

Yet even as he enjoyed his fill of the spoils of war and consigned her to the punishment of her race, he could not find it in himself to hate her. Aphrodite he cursed, and Helene he abhorred, but despite her humbled place, Charis of Troy could not produce any fruits but respect.

It was surely too late to plow back that soil.

Yet late at night in his ship's cabin, as he heard the men brag about their women and watched the shadows of fires still burning, a distant echo in his heart beat in time to the waves: What if?

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, scrimshaw
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...

Jennifer Kane Martin: I am a high school teacher, and the dialogue and inner thoughts are PERFECT. However, the lack of capitalization, punctuation, and the typos are distracting. Don't let these get in the way of a potentially good story.

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...

SPepper: I had a hard time putting this book down even to go to sleep. The story is compelling and beautifully character driven. I hope author will make this a series.

More Recommendations

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!

annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...

brettylee: The narrative is slick yet punchy. Life, Family and Friends I believe is the core message so it’s easy to relate to. It’s surprisingly action packed. The author does a good job at keeping you guessing. Just when you think all is right, whack, the unexpected happens. The dialogue is energetic and ...

emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...

Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.